By Eudore Chand
After the bridge is completed, which is due at the year end, the land road will be removed
Less than two months after the announcement of the winning design for the bridge connecting Palm Jumeirah to the mainland, the outline of the spectacular development is beginning to take shape. The support structure is well advanced with both the abutments, which will sit below the two five-lane highways, virtually complete.
All of the preparatory work for the creation of the columns below the bridge has also been completed. This has involved the creation of rebar (reinforcing bar) cages into which concrete will be poured over the coming weeks. Work is continuing on the bridge 24 hours a day and is due to be completed by late 2004. Once this has been achieved the existing road links will be removed, thus putting the final, vital touch to the creation of the island.
“The bridge will provide the grand entrance to The Palm and even in these early stages it is clear that this will be an enormously impressive structure in its own right,” said Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, Nakheel chairman.
“The primary consideration in the creation of the bridge, however, has been that it provides quick and easy access to the island for all inhabitants, visitors or workers to all facilities on the island including all of the residential and commercial units such as hotels, shopping malls, hospitals and other facilities.”
From the mainland, the 350 metre long, 25 metre wide bridge will begin with ten lanes (five in each direction), but once over the water, it will split into two bridges of five lanes each. When the bridge reaches the island itself it will split into smaller roads, which will take visitors and residents to the various, villas, apartments, hotels and leisure facilities. The bridge will be linked with Dubai Municipality’s bridge and road connections directly to Sheikh Zayed Road.
The design incorporates reinforced concrete, steel space frames and textured finishes. The sail like space frames will be 25 metre high and flank the bridge on both sides. Work is continuing on the structure in three shifts 24 hours a day. Statues of the Seven Wonders of the World have also been integrated into the design, as has dynamic lighting to bring the bridge to life after dark.
The concept and detail designers for the bridge are H2L2 Architects of New York who are working in collaboration with structural design consultants Leonhardt, Andra and Partner of Germany. In total eight designs were tendered. The main contractor is Belhasa Six.
H2L2 Architects have also be involved in the design of many prominent bridges over the years including the likes of the East Span of the San Francisco and Oakland Bay Bridge and The Benjamin Franklin Bridge in Philadelphia.